Finance Major’s Journey Pairs Passion with Opportunities

Opportunities have been abounding for Jack Benedict ’20, finance major, from Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. He believes his relationships with professors, hands-on work experience and extracurricular activities have helped him excel.

Benedict says that he always knew he was going to come to Syracuse University. He explains, “My mother, father, aunt, uncle, cousin and sister all attended the university before me. I grew up in a household with a family that was constantly talking about the school or watching Syracuse University men’s basketball and football games. I visited the campus at least once a year during my childhood for a game at the dome, where I fell in love with the university and the people.”

Benedict’s dreams came true and he joined the Orange family, but not originally as a business major. Benedict shares, “I originally started on the pre-med track, double majoring in biology and chemistry. I enjoyed those classes and labs, however, my interests faded as I started experimenting with the capital markets. I transferred into the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at the beginning of my sophomore year and decided to major in finance.”

However, Benedict used his passion for science and pursued a minor in psychology, with an emphasis in business psychology.

In 2018, the summer after Benedict’s sophomore year, he served as a summer mergers and acquisitions analyst at NFP, an insurance brokerage corporation in New York City. He was able to secure this position after networking with Whitman alumnus Carl Nelson ’92. In his role, Benedict states, “I developed an extensive understanding of the mergers and acquisition process at the corporate level and worked on several three- to five-month, multi-million dollar deals on the buy-side.” 

The following summer, after his junior year, Benedict worked as a summer client finance analyst at W2O Group. He was able to secure this position after networking with Jim Weiss ’87 (NEW). Benedict worked directly with account teams to help them track and maintain their budgets. He also served as the sole finance consultant for eight internship teams that were working on public relations campaigns.

In the winter of 2019, he continued to stay busy. Benedict explains, “I was chosen from a national pool of students to participate in a week-long intensive financial externship program at Cornerstone Advisors Asset Management.”

During this externship program, he learned how to value funds and customize mock portfolios. He adds, “I improved my knowledge on standard deviation, information ratio, expense/performance ratio and more. My co-externs and I also prepared and presented a final presentation to the c-suite on the market movement projections for before, during and after the 2020 election.”

When asked what other students should do to secure internships or employment positions, Benedict encourages them to learn how to network effectively.

“It is incredibly important to always keep your mind open to new opportunities. Whitman offers a lot of speaker series and forums for large organizations that recruit on-campus, so it is important to attend those events and establish connections early on. Alumni from Syracuse are extremely helpful and are willing to provide guidance if you follow through with them,” Benedict states.

He also advises students to differentiate themselves to stand out. Benedict explains, “It is incredibly important for students to have experience and backgrounds that are unique. A great way to differentiate yourself from other students is to create a well-rounded, balanced lifestyle that allows you to focus on leadership opportunities, hobbies and extracurricular activities.”

Benedict has certainly taken his advice and put it to work. He is a member of the men’s club lacrosse team, Syracuse Investment Club and a tutor/mentor for Beta Gamma Sigma.

Benedict also helped to initiate a club while at Syracuse University called TAMID Group. TAMID is a not-for-profit organization that offers a hands-on learning experience through consulting and investing in Israeli companies.

He shares, “I am one of four leaders that founded the Syracuse TAMID Chapter and grew the organization to around 45 members.”

The variety of internship experiences and skill development from Whitman classes are paying off for Benedict. He has accepted a full-time associate position in New York City with AlphaSights, a London based information service organization. 

“I’m excited to provide research and information services for investment managers, private equity funds, hedge funds, banks, management consultancies, corporations and not-for-profits,” says Benedict.

His position will begin this summer, but he will not be wasting any time to learn new skills since he found some opportunities to continue learning before his full-time position begins.

Benedict reached out to his network of contacts he has made over the years while at Syracuse University. He found two remote internships. One will be with Talisen Capital Partners and the second with The Zone.

With the global pandemic, Benedict is grateful that he landed a job offer prior to the global pandemic. Like many of his peers, he wants to use his free time this summer to continue to learn.

Benedict states, “Hard times are sometimes blessings in disguise. We do have to suffer but, in the end, it makes us stronger and wiser. That is my mindset during this pandemic. With all of my free time, I thought it would be imperative to be productive and learn as much as I can.”

Learn more about Whitman students and their experiences at Syracuse University.

Maya Bingaman
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